Death in Bedford-Stuyvesant Fire Investigated as Homicide – UPDATE

Video of police and firefighters outside of 494 Jefferson Ave. Photo by Citizen App

UPDATED 3/23: The deceased has been identified as Jonathan Blake, 55, of Mount Vernon, NY. Derek Whitaker, 54, of 494 Jefferson Ave in Brooklyn has been arrested and charged on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, with tampering with a witness, arson, concealing a human corpse, and hindering prosecution, according to NYPD. The investigation remains ongoing.

BEDFORD STUYVESANT – Firefighters responded to a 911 call about a fire in the basement of the apartment building at  494 Jefferson Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant around 2 pm on Monday, March 16. Twelve units responded, and 60 firefighters were on the scene. 

Once the fire was extinguished, a dead man was found in the basement. Police are investigating the death as a homicide, and a 54-year-old man is in custody for questioning.

Firefighters gather in the street outside 494 Jefferson Ave. Photo by Citizen App

FDNY is still investigating the cause of the fire. Police have not yet released the identity of the deceased.

Neighbors took a video of the aftermath on the Citizen App:

Man Found Dead in Basement Fire, 54-Year-Old Questioned @CitizenApp

494 Jefferson Ave Yesterday 2:13:17 PM EDT

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Curtis Brodner

Curtis is a reporter for Bklyner. Message me with tips, questions and lavish praise (or complaints) at or on Twitter @CurtisBrodner.


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